Lordy lordy. A spot check on the pricing of the 2005 top-tier Bordeaux wines had best be done sitting down. Ten thousand bucks for a case of wine? Wine that is not even in the bottle yet? As Ebert and Roper would say: two thumbs down. Way down. The few always ruin it for the many. There are scores of fabulous and reasonably priced ’05s to choose from. But the perception of blatant gouging across the Bordeaux board already has folks on the run to other vintages (if not other countries), and the damage is done. At $800 plus a bottle (from a property whose previous vintage sold for $200 dollars!) very few corks will be pulled. Welcome to Stock Market Wine. This is the wine equivalent of the disappearance of the middle class. This will hit my department as well. The stocks and cellars of older vintages will go up. The vacuum effect may even extend to the rest of the premium French wine world, and has potentially global implications. Sound like an Al Gore movie? To high-price leaders, I say: Better hope the weather holds next year. O.K., let’s get happy again. Please allow me to introduce Léoville-Poyferre, the most obscure of the Léovilles and but no less delicious. The quality here has never been better; the underachieving years are long passed, and the property now has the ability for great success in lesser vintages, not an easy trick. Léoville-Poyferre tends to be solid and structured but with exotic plumage and somewhat finer tannins. Think of Léoville-Barton with a Cos d’Estournel chaser. We currently something for everyone: 1989 Léoville-Poyferre 1.5L ($289.00) This is a sturdy wine with sweet currant fruit notes and refined power. I believe that the wine is at its apex, but I’m not averse to drinking wines like this in the September of their life, when the fruit loses a bit of sweetness and the bouquet begins to show more dry roses and minerals. Lovely now. 1993 Léoville-Poyferre 1.5L ($89.99) The ’93 offers up the signature summer fruit flavors of blueberries and plums as well as the ubiquitous blackcurrants. There is a lovely balance to the components, and it drinks perfectly now. The wine does not shout, nor does it whisper. 1994 Léoville-Poyferre ($89.99) This little showboat has it all- ripeness, richness, toasty oak and good body. Oh, and one more thing- the balance to be a complete and complex wine now, more so with a few more vintages under its' belt. An absolute steal. An engaging and exotic wine. 1995 Léoville-Poyferre ($189.00) There is always a tortoise among the hares. This offering will require the patience of Job, but not the pocketbook of Steven Jobs. Trust me, this is some serious grape juice: deep, dense and powerful. With smoky notes and tobacco to complement the never ending layers of sweet black fruits, this is a brute with balance. This one needs to get tucked in for at least a half-decade slumber. Wake it up after 2012, or later. You’ll be glad you bought it. So, you have two choices: By a single bottle of a certain 2005 first growth, or every one of these magnums and throw in a nice dinner for the same price. See how easy it is to choose? —Joe Zugelder
Summerer is a new grower in the marketplace and one that we are really digging on. The estate is located in Langenlois the heart of the Kamptal, a bowl like valley with vineyards surrounding the town on all sides. The Summerer’s Rupert and Elizabeth continue a tradition at this estate that dates back to 1679 yet this property is anything but traditional. All the wines are now being bottled with glass stoppers. That’s right, no more cork taint here my friends. These wines are energetic, snappy and ripe with modest alcohol (12.5%), fresh clean flavors and distinctive minerality. Austria is on the move. I firmly believe it to be one of the most dynamic regions in the wine world today with folks like the Summerers all over the country making great wines that go with food, are distinctive and honest with vision and a sense of place. We have two wines to prove this point for you to try this month. 2004 Summerer Grüner Veltliner Steinhaus ($15.99), from vines grown on Urgestein (primary rock), is a dazzling little number sure to make you smile, from its fresh cool nose to the zippy mineral mouth feel. This is a great match with heirloom tomato salad. 2004 Summerer Riesling Steinmassl ($22.99) is from a great site for Riesling, producing wines of real finesse, cut and minerality, always a little firm and lean when young with hints of citrus and white flowers, yet coupled with a very strong scent of stone. Enjoy this now for its vibrant youthful exuberance or drink in 4-8 years for a more mature experience. Enjoy! —Jeff Vierra
We have just received some really hip wines guaranteed to create quite the stir at your next gathering. Whenever I have the need to serve some tasty wine I often reach for romorantin. This honeyed bundle of pleasure is all you need to put smiles on your friends’ and families’ faces and forever seal the fact that you are a certifiable wine geek. I say go for it my friends, embrace the distinctive, rejoice in the weird, be the only person on your block with cases of wine from this long-forgotten grape in your cellar. Romorantin is the name of the most noble ancient grape grown in Cour-Cheverny at the center of the Sologne viticulture region in the Loire Valley. These vines are thought to have been grown here since the time of Francois I (a long time ago), and the wines have historically been highly regarded by the Noble Folk that used to live in all those big châteaux. This appellation is tiny (46ha) compared to say the Cotes du Rhone (42,000ha), and the production that leaves the region is miniscule. We are lucky to have established a relationship with one of the top growers in the region, Philippe Tessier, and are pleased to offer you two new wines. Tessier has just converted the domaine to totally organic viticulture, too! 2004 Tessier Cour Cheverny “La Porte Doree” ($13.99) From very old vines, 60-85 years of age, all from the romorantin grape. The wine is fermented in three- to five-year old Burgundy barrels and undergoes partial malo-lactic fermentation, which lends a rich, almost viscous mouthfeel to an otherwise extremely mineral wine. You may put this wine in the cellar for many years of rewarding drinking. Now till 2020+. Did I mention Mr. Tessier also makes red wine? The 2005 Tessier Cheverny Rouge ($12.99) is a luscious blend of gamay and pinot noir. This medium-bodied beauty is supple and elegant, a portrait of restraint and purity and just about one of the happiest wines we have in the store. Enjoy its cherry scented nose and spicy licorice-tinged palate and ample sweet fruit just above cellar temperature and over the next 5-8 years. Live in the Light! —Jeff Vierra
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